Five True Statements About ‘Better Call Saul’: Kim Finds An Escape Hatch

09.11.18 13 Comments


Five True Statements is exactly what it sounds like, a discussion about the most recent episode ofBetter Call Saul’ centered around five undisputable statements of fact. Mostly undisputable, at least. I would never lie to you on purpose. Especially not aboutBetter Call Saul.’

1. Kim has two big problems right now

Actually, if we’re being honest here, Kim doesn’t so much have two problems as she has one really big problem, but “nothing is working” is a little too broad to deal with effectively. She needs to break things down into manageable pieces to deal with it all and we need to do that to explain it. So, again, two problems.

The nice thing is that she was able to address both of them, at least temporarily, in one chess move. Moving to Schweikart’s firm will give her the opportunity to do more of the stuff she’s enjoying right now (the public defender work) without sacrificing the thing that actually keeps the lights on (the Mesa Verde work). That’s good. I don’t know if it’ll be enough, long-term, if the PD itch spreads and needs more scratching, but it buys her a little time to figure it out.

The bigger problem, though, is the one that lives with her and is bringing sushi home for dinner. Kim is starting to get the idea that her former business partner and current romantic partner might not work as the future versions of either of those things. I’m not sure yet if taking this job is a move to escape from both or if it’s a last-ditch “maybe doing this one thing will help solve the other thing” heave, but Jimmy’s reaction to it kind of spells out where it’s all headed anyway. They’re headed in very different directions.

She tried, man. She’s still trying. But that cold open — heeeyyyy Chuck — showed how little things have changed. Jimmy might want to do better in fits and starts but he’s still the guy running the Oscar pool during work hours. I don’t think that’s gonna work for Kim.

2. Jimmy McGill is a man balancing on a very thin wire right now

What a swing. At the beginning of the episode, he’s sketching out logos for Wexler McGill and fresh-squeezing orange juice (breakfast remains Jimmy’s tell); by the end, he’s got three street toughs hanging upside down in a piñata warehouse. That kind of tells you everything you need to know about Jimmy right now. He doesn’t do adversity well. Kim telling him about the new job was the trigger this time, and it was a big one because he might see the writing on the wall when it comes to the endgame there, but it’s getting to the point where it could be anything, you know? Like, someday Jimmy’s going to have another fleeting urge to do good and he’s going to go to a diner to grab lunch and figure it out and he’ll ask for a Diet Coke and the waitress will say “Pepsi okay?” and two hours later he’ll be burying a sack of blood-soaked money in the desert. Just how the guy is wired.

That’s the real issue here. Jimmy becoming Saul is inevitable because we know the history but it’s also inevitable because he was always going to become Saul. His internal compass bends towards chicanery and it makes it impossible to walk the straight and narrow. The sad part is that he doesn’t have to do any of it. Kim is making good money. He could see the therapist and put his head down for 10 months. Things are mostly fine, give or take the grieving over Chuck. This isn’t Walter White trying to justify his drug dealing with a cancer diagnosis and a desire to provide for his family. Jimmy is skipping that part and jumping straight to the “because I like it.”

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